Julia Carlson

The faster you get rid of caring what others think about you and embrace the power of being “authentically you,” the faster success will come. Don’t try to be all things to all people or to please everyone.


Julia M. Carlson is the Founder of Financial Freedom Wealth Management Group, LLC. She has been practicing financial planning for more than 20 years and specializes in helping people who are either retired or close to retirement. Julia is recognized as being especially knowledgeable on topics relating to tax strategies for retirement and distribution planning. She is also experienced and qualified to work with business owners to provide comprehensive exit planning and business strategy.

Julia is an Investment Advisor Representative and Registered Principal affiliated with LPL Financial, and has her Series 24, 7, 63, 66 Securities registrations held with LPL Financial. She also has her Life and Health Insurance license.

In 2016, Julia became a SmartVestor Pro for nationally syndicated radio talk show host Dave Ramsey. She leads her SmartVestor Pro team for southwest Washington and most of Oregon.

In 2018, she was recognized by Forbes both as one of America’s Top Women Advisors and as a Forbes Best-In-State Wealth Advisor. InvestmentNews named her firm as an Outstanding Practice for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion in 2018.

Furthermore, Julia provides her knowledge in a financial column in the Newport News-Times, and actively participates in her community as a Rotarian and Chamber member. She works from the Financial Freedom Wealth Management Group, LLC office in the beautiful coastal community of Newport, Oregon where she resides with her husband and their three children.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

My life took an unexpected turn at the age of 18 when I met my future husband, Chris. I packed up and moved into an apartment in Waldport, Oregon which is a town of 2,000 people. It was quite a shock to move from the Greater Seattle area to a small town, but I was in love! I went to work at the local bank as a teller. The investment advisor would visit our branch one day a week. I remember following him around, asking him all sorts of questions about his job. It fascinated me. As soon as I could, I transitioned from teller over to the investment department where I found my passion.

I loved everything about it. At the age of 23, I jumped at the chance to start my own business and marry my passion for finance with my entrepreneurial spirit. I started what is now Financial Freedom Wealth Management Group, LLC. Fast forward 10 years, I loved the work I was doing, but I was juggling raising three kids and a full-time business and my health and fitness, as a result, took a back seat.

To break out of the rut I was in, I decided to set a big audacious goal. I had always been interested in figure bodybuilding competitions. They inspired me, and I would think, “I wonder if I could ever do that, I want to try it.” So shortly after my son, Jake was born, I hired a coach and decided to start training for my first fitness competition.

It was a year-long period in which I trained for this show. I became very focused in the discipline of working out and eating right. What I found was that same focus started to show up in all other aspects of my life. I went into it thinking my business would suffer for having to spend the extra time in the gym and all the other aspects of training at a high level, but in fact, the opposite happened. My business doubled that year. My spiritual life and closeness with God felt heightened. My relationships improved; I was more attentive with my kids. I competed in four different competitions (over the next five years.). During the training period leading up to every competition I was amazed at what would show up in all areas of my life. It became a little addicting! One day it occurred to me I could blend the passion I have for helping people pursue their financial goals with my passion for living a fit and healthy lifestyle. The idea behind “Fit Money” was born.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I love my morning routine and it sets me up for success. I awake around 5am, get my workout clothes on, drink a big glass of water and hit my garage gym. I do 30 minutes of meditation and yoga and will then alternate days with either my Peloton Bike or Weights. Next, it’s getting myself and the kids ready for the day. After I get them on the bus, I finish getting ready for work, listen to podcasts, check the markets and think about my intentions for the day. I head to the office where I arrive around 8:30 most days and head home by 5. My days are structured, Mondays are internal days. This means no client appointments, I have a standing leadership meeting, I work with my staff, complete strategic planning and prep for the week. Tuesday through Thursday are client appointment days and then Friday is finishing everything up for the week, maybe 1-2 appointments or a Facebook Live video! In the summers I like to take Fridays off and play with the kids. After work is all about family. I have 3 active kids, so often it’s going to their activities and then dinner and bedtime routine. Currently, it’s 9:35 and I am finishing up some emails and to dos. I try not to work too much at home but as an entrepreneur with deadlines it happens. Lights out by 10pm.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I’m a visionary so I have lots of ideas! I carry with me a Journal (currently Danielle Laporte – Desire Map Planner) and I capture all my thoughts and random ideas in there. I make sure I only focus on 3 big ideas a quarter because I’ve learned it’s more powerful to focus and get things done then start 10 things and don’t finish any of it. I have an amazing team that lets me dream with them! If we think it’s a good idea, we will strategize together and decide which quarter to focus on it. Then when it’s time to bring it to life, we complete the to do list and delegate to team members based on their strengths and put a deadline to it. We have weekly meetings with our team for accountability and to make sure we are on track. These happen every Monday!

What’s one trend that excites you?

Moving to a virtual world. Traditionally, I have spent my time one on one with clients in my office. Over the last year, we introduced video conference meetings and they are equally as effective. It allows us to work with clients all over the nation!

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

My daily routine for sure. Also, making sure I am fueling myself with good nutrition, when you treat your body right, your mind and spirit follow. Having a foundation of good rituals and disciplines creates freedom for me.

What advice would you give your younger self?

The faster you get rid of caring what others think about you and embrace the power of being “authentically you,” the faster success will come. Don’t try to be all things to all people or to please everyone. This is not the goal. The magic of success is to attract the people that relate to you, like you, and want to do business with you. Repel and don’t engage with those that are not a good fit. The secret in how to do this is to simply be YOU! Not only does it make things way easier, it’s a lot more fun along the way too!

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Finding work/life balance is impossible.

Surrender to seasons, ebbs and flows and integrate your priorities in life into your work.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Save 5% of every check or gross income and put into a savings account. No exceptions. I have done this since I started and have grown by business staying debt free.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I have been writing a column for our local newspaper for the past 5 years. They love the free content and I like the deadline of getting it done and being creative. I then turn the column into a blog on our website and create posts for all our social media channels. This brings prospects into our office, and also attracts them online. All the social media posts point prospects to our website for a free private consultation. This can happen in our office or virtually via phone or video conference.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I spent thousands on marketing for a seminar and no one showed up! My team and I analyzed what went wrong, took the learning from it, tried again and didn’t give up. Our next seminar had over 50 people in attendance.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Get clear on who your ideal client is and then speak directly to them when you are sending emails, doing videos or speaking publicly. The more authentic you become to your ideal audience the more the right people will be attracted to you. Don’t be afraid to tell your story and put yourself out there. People like to do business with people like them.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Acupuncture – It likes a reboot on your body. It creates a centered feeling that is liberating and pure joy.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Salesforce CRM – it runs my life! My calendar, my clients, my dream prospective clients, my email system, my tasks so I never forget a promise, my staff all uses it. It’s the best and helps me be efficient!

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Desire Map is my current favorite. It’s about getting to the feelings you want to feel every day of your life, figuring out how to feel that way and then creating map to ensure that it happens! My most desired feelings are Freedom, Inspiration, Passion and Love. If I focus on feeling these daily, then everything else falls into place!

What is your favorite quote?

Abundance is scooped from abundance yet abundance remains. Anne Sexton

Key learnings:

  • Starting your day right makes all the difference. Create a morning routine that is perfect for you incorporating your beliefs and intentions.
  • Where your focus goes, your energy flows. Decide what to focus on, create a plan and stay determined until you reach your desired outcome.
  • Surround yourself with people that are different from you and that will challenge you. Teamwork makes the dream work!
  • Have fun doing what you love. Life is too short not to have joy in the day to day. Who you become in the process of reaching your dreams is the gift.